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Chicago, Illinois — November 6, 2018


A Net Zero Trailer can now be purchased through Craftsmen Industries, Inc. To request information, click here

Pepper Construction today announced they will unveil a Net Zero Jobsite Trailer at Greenbuild on November 14th in Chicago. The move is part of a larger initiative to positively affect the communities the company serves. Pepper believes that high-performing buildings are the future of the construction industry. By integrating their high-performance expertise into the company’s operational process and raising awareness about the significant benefits high performance construction brings, Pepper is transforming the future.

The Net Zero trailer is efficient from every perspective, leveraging technology to manage a project paperlessly while providing a healthy and high performing environment for occupants. The idea originated with Susan Heinking, Pepper's Vice President of High Performance and Sustainable Construction and a LEED Fellow.

"Most people spend about 90% of their time indoors, and that environment has a significant impact on our health," says Heinking. "That philosophy also applies to the men and women working on our jobsites. We want our trailer to match our values. From air quality to basic human comforts and energy consumption, we found that existing jobsite trailers didn't match our commitment to the environment or our staff. We redesigned it to focus on the human experience, productivity and quality from every aspect."

Inside the trailer is a gathering room that hosts up to 14 people and hoteling space for visitors. Furnished with Red List-Free furniture and materials, the modern design is flexible and collaborative. Daylight streams into the space, eliminating the need for candescent lighting. Reclaimed wood cabinets illustrate the team's solid understanding of where materials are sourced from while bamboo flooring is a durable alternative to the typical vinyl flooring options. Thoughtful details such as locker storage and flexible work space complete with folding meeting space furniture transform previously utilitarian conditions into a modern, functional and healthy work space.

Essentially a tiny building, Pepper's Net Zero Trailer works holistically as one system to reduce the demand for energy. The average jobsite construction trailer emits 53,712 pounds of CO2 emissions into the air each year through its energy use. That means that each year, a jobsite's carbon footprint equates to the energy of four residential homes. Pepper's Net Zero trailer uses 100% less energy than a traditional trailer through thoughtful design.

The trailer is clad in cement fiber panels which reduce heat absorption. To further increase energy efficiency and eliminate temperature swings, the envelope features a thermal barrier from 6" of rigid insulation, doubling the R-values for the walls, floor and roof, which now range from R-30 to R-40. Atop the structure, 27 photovoltaic panels convert just 4 hours of sunlight into the needed electricity to power the trailer for a full work day.

Additional features include:

  • On the roof are 27 commercial solar panels. Each panel produces 327 Watts. The panel configuration is 3 strings of 9 panels each. The panels produce 37 kWh of energy with access to only four hours of daylight. This equates to exceeding the daily demand of the trailer which is 36.kWh, making the trailer net positive. The system also weighs about 3 pounds per square foot totaling around 2,000 pounds.
  • Functional workspaces that respond to new technology as well as the daily needs of the project team. Stand-up desks improve health and fold-up furniture allows the team to reconfigure the space for various meetings. When the trailer goes to a new jobsite, furniture can easily accommodate new preferences with writable surfaces.
  • Cladding attached with thermally isolated fasteners which diminishes the thermal performance of the exterior insulation by less than 5%. This dramatically reduces the losses or gains of heat inside the trailer compared to traditional Z-furring increasing thermal comfort dramatically.
  • Highly permeable wind and rain barrier that prevents the reduction of the R-value of the underlying insulation.
  • Acoustical panels and sheetrock that are low VOC-emitting and GREENGUARD Gold Certified.
  • An air conditioning system that runs on a working fluid called R-410A which does not emit any ozone depleting chemicals. It also operates at a higher pressure, creating cooler temperatures more effectively while operating more quietly.
  • Low consumption lighting throughout offers a sensible approach. Inside, the trailer is illuminated by a wireless system with integrated occupancy and daylight sensors. The lights can be controlled via a mobile app to limit unnecessary consumption. It also allows us to reconfigure the space without rewiring in the future.
  • Full-amenity kitchens enable our employees the opportunity to pursue healthier eating habits. The cabinets and credenza are made from reclaimed wood, so they are inherently Red List Free.
  • Recycled, bio-formed felt above the conference room area provides sound absorption and incorporates biophilic design through its organic pattern.
  • Double pane, low-Argon glass windows that are operable windows provide fresh air and are covered with transparent window shades for glare control.
  • Energy Star appliances and water efficient fixtures.
  • Walk off mats keep dust and debris outside, while green cleaning supplies limit harmful chemicals inside.

Pepper built the Net Zero trailer in the company's Barrington warehouse with locally-sourced materials. Like most buildings, the team began the process digitally, using 3D BIM models to develop the most efficient placement for MEP and data systems in the trailer and ensure quality enclosures. The team pushed the use of the Microsoft HoloLens to build the trailer without paper drawings. The design was also vetted through an energy model to ensure the trailer performs at peak levels.

Now in their fourth generation of family leadership, Pepper Construction Group serves clients across the country with comprehensive teams in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. Ranked by ENR magazine as one of the top builders of sustainable projects in the nation, Pepper serves clients in a variety of markets such as healthcare, education, manufacturing and light industrial, data centers, entertainment, hospitality and interiors, among others. Pepper’s High Performance and Sustainable Construction group is part of their Integrated Construction Services (ICS) team, which represents some of the most advanced thought leadership in our industry—investigating new technologies, evaluating new methodologies and integrating innovative solutions in the field. Some of the firm's current high performance work includes the LEED Gold Certified Chicago Children's Theatre; the LEED Platinum Certified Sunset Ridge High School in Northfield, IL; and the LEED Gold Certified MILA apartment tower in downtown Chicago, IL. For more information, please visit


Contact: Shannan Ghera